Some of the world’s most prominent and credible female voices – including Beyonce, Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, Sheryl Sandberg, Charlize Theron, and Angelique Kidjo – have joined a group of business leaders, artists, and activists to join the ONE Campaign in sending a message to two people who hold very influential positions this year: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South Africa’s Minister of Health Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“Thank you for your leadership and the example you offer all girls and women,” reads an open letter signed by the women. "In June this year you will both chair key summits at which you have placed women’s empowerment on the agenda – one in Germany, one in South Africa. These meetings are just before the historic global summit on how to finance the new Sustainable Development Goals in Addis Ababa, which will be followed by the unveiling of these goals in New York in September.

“The timing is such that if your summits reach the right agreements, great financing and momentum around girls and women’s empowerment can be placed at the heart of the new global goals. That in turn will frame how global policies are decided, and trillions of dollars spent, over the next 15 years.

“For the girl who can’t go to a decent primary or secondary school or access healthcare, or who is forced to marry while still a child; for the mothers threatened with death when they give life and who aren’t allowed to decide when to have their next child; for the women who can’t own or inherit the land she farms, nor open a bank account, own a phone, access electricity or the legal system; for the infant girl who doesn’t legally exist because her birth wasn’t registered and the government hasn’t the capacity to collect data on her or her village; for the women and girls who can’t take those who are violent towards them to court nor access justice – let’s make sure they all count.

“Put simply, poverty is sexist, and we won’t end it unless we face up to the fact that girls and women get a raw deal, and until leaders and citizens around the world work together for real change. Because when we deliver for girls and women, we deliver for everyone.

“If we get this right, we could help lift every girl and woman out of poverty by 2030 – and by doing so we will lift everyone. Get this wrong and extreme poverty, inequality and instability might spread in the most vulnerable regions, impacting all our futures.

“The choice is obvious and we know where you stand personally. But the course you set as leaders in this historic year will be critical in either creating momentum or slowing it down.

“In 2015 let’s all have the courage to demand better and follow through with the resources and policies that it will take to end extreme poverty by 2030. Millions of girls and women around the world will applaud your decisiveness – and will help ensure the promises made this year are truly kept into the future.”

Among the stars who have also signed the letter are Christy Turlington Burns, Lauren Bush Lauren, Rosamund Pike, Sarah Silverman, and many more.

To read more and sign the petition, click here.


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